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Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Strawberry Blonde (1941) - Star of the month... Olivia de Havilland

"Oh for Pete's sake Virginia, cut out the nonsense. This is a pre-arranged date and we all know it. I've got to get back on duty by eleven, so come on, let's shake our tootsies!" - Olivia de Havilland (as Amy Lind)

Olivia de Havilland as Amy shocks James Cagney
as Biff with her modern way of thinking
The Strawberry Blonde is a good old fashioned jolly folly from 1941 starring James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland and Rita Hayworth with Jack Carson, Alan Hale, George Tobias, Una O'Connor and George Reeves. The film is directed by Raoul Walsh and written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein.

Biff Grimes (played by Cagney) is infatuated by "the strawberry blonde" Virginia Brush (played by Rita Hayworth). Society girl Virginia chooses to give her affections to Biff's best friend Hugo Barnstead (played by Carson). Biff eventually marries Virginia's best friend, nurse Amy Lind (played by de Havilland).

Cagney returns to Warner Bros.

This was James Cagney's return to Warner Bros. after his 18 months contractual dispute. A clause in Cagney's new contract allowed Cagney to choose his own films. After showing his versatility in musical films such as 'Footlight Parade' and his ability play Shakespeare in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', Cagney thought it fit to expand his repertoire with a nostalgic film set in the 1890s.

Musical program

As with all old fashioned jolly follies, 'The Strawberry Blonde' is jam packed with some great old fashioned jolly American songs from the 1890s such as "And the Band Played On", "Bill Bailey" and "Meet Me In St. Louis".

Watch a clip from the film:

Movie trailer
I really like the movie trailer for 'The Strawberry Blonde'. I wasn't able to find it on YouTube, so here are some images I managed to find online.

Did you know...

  • James Cagney had wanted Brian Donlevy or Lloyd Nolan to play the role of as Hugo Barnstead, as he felt Jack Carson was too tall for him
  • John Garfield was considered for the role of Biff Grimes
  • Ann Sheridan was originally intended to play Virginia Brush, however she refused due to a contractual dispute
  • Brenda Marshall screen tested for the role of Virginia Brush
  • This film is believed to feature the only time Rita Hayworth is heard singing with her own voice - in her other films, her singing voice is dubbed

Award nominations

  • Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score

Closing remarks

'The Strawberry Blonde' features an iconic Olivia de Havilland image where she cheekily winks at the camera.  I like this film a lot, and there is only one thing I dislike about watching this film. Every time I finish watching it, I can never get the bloody song ("And the Band Played On") out of my head!!